11/16/2011, 00.00
CHINA
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Half empty, Chinese hotels are a flop

Shanghai hotel occupancy rate is 50 per cent against 80 per cent in Singapore and Hong Kong. In the 1980s, 1990s and before the 2008 Olympics, hotels boomed. The number of internationally branded hotel rooms is expected to surge 52 per cent by 2013. However, many fear a speculative bubble like that of the housing industry.
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – China’s hotel occupancy rate was 61 per cent in the first nine months of this year, the same as the year-earlier period and the lowest in Asia after India among 15 countries. In Shanghai, only about half of hotel rooms were filled, compared with more than 80 per cent in Singapore and Hong Kong.

The figures, published by Bloomberg, are surprising because China has become the world’s third-most-visited travel destination overtaking Spain, just behind France and the United States.

China is clearly oversupplied in terms of hotels. In the 1980s and 1990s, state companies build huge hotels to cater to gaggles of businessmen flocking to the Middle Kingdom after it opened its doors to international trade. Then hotel chains came for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Since then, most hotels have had a low occupancy rate, reaching at best 40-50 per cent (see “Olympic flop for Beijing’s hospitality industry,” in AsiaNews, 22 August 2008).

Given the country’ unbridled economic growth, the number of internationally branded hotel rooms is expected to surge 52 per cent by 2013.

Nevertheless, it is likely that the hospitality industry will experience the same speculative bubble of the housing industry (see “Beijing, housing market collapses: down 50% in one year,” in AsiaNews, 16 April 2011).
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